Afrocentric Choral Works

by Ann Watson Born

I recently attended the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network conference in Boston. This year the clinician was Mr. Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, the Founder, Artistic Director and Conductor of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canada’s first professional chamber choir dedicated to the creation and performance of Afrocentric music of all styles. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, Mr. Blyden-Taylor immigrated to Canada in 1973. (

During the conference Mr. Blyden-Taylor presented a session on Afrocentric music (e.g., music by African, Haitian, and African-American composers as well as music influenced by African-American musical styles). These were all wonderful pieces. The rep list is below.

Rosephanye Powell: I Dream a World. Gentry Publications (Hal Leonard HL08739198)

Sydney Guillaume: Dominus Vobiscum. Walton (WJMS1123)

Robert L. Morris, arranger: Is a Light Shinin’ in the Heavens? Alliance (AMP 0273)

Adolphus Hilstork: I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes (cantata for Tenor solo, SATB chorus and orchestra, c. 18’) Theodore Presser (312-41723)

Ivo Antognini: I Am the Rose of Sharon. Alliance (AMP 0842)

Uzee Brown, Jr., arranger: I’m Buildin’ Me a Home. GIA (G-8958)

Undine Smith Moore: Lord, We Give Thanks to Thee. GIA (G-6232)

Betty Jackson King: Psalm 57. Jacksonian Press, Inc. (JP 104)

R. Nathaniel Dett: Go Not Far From Me, O God. Probably public domain – may be on Library of Congress site.

Brandon Waddles, arranger: This Little Light of Mine. GIA (G-8498)